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Juniper oil: aromatherapy, health benefits and uses of juniper essential oil

Updated on August 15, 2009


Juniper essential oil, derived from the Latin name juniperus communis, is naturally extracted from the berries of the juniper plant. Juniper oil is commonly described as emitting a fruity, warm, and woody aroma, and people use this oil for an array of health, well-being, and beauty benefits.

It is also used extensively in aromatherapy massage and aromatherapy products, for its relaxing and stress-relieving properties.

In fact, juniper plant oil has been used throughout history, as people from the medieval ages believed that juniper oil could help fend off the plague. As modern scientists have discovered that juniper essential oil actually offers antibiotic benefits, the medieval use of this plant may have been accurate!

In addition, juniper essential oil has been historically believed to have generally magical powers; as a result, the oil was often used in various religious ceremonies. Many cultures also used juniper plant oil as a protection against evil forces.

In relation to the historical use of juniper oil for medicinal purposes, research has found that juniper was traditionally used to treat ailments such as:

  • Respiratory problems

  • Urinary infections

  • Arthritis

  • Rheumatism

  • Gout

  • Inflammation

  • Treatment / relief of exhaustion

  • Memory aid / improve memory

Juniper berries growing on a tree. Quadell at the English language Wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, has published it under Creative Commons v.3
Juniper berries growing on a tree. Quadell at the English language Wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, has published it under Creative Commons v.3

Purification of Juniper Essential Oil

While there are many different species of juniper, juniper essential oil is derived from a specific evergreen juniper tree.

The juniper tree is native to many countries in the northern regions of Europe, as well as Canada, Siberia, and other regions of Asia.

With blue-green needles, small flowers, and berries, juniper oil is obtained from a steam distillation process involving the berries, needles, or wood of the plant.

The highest quality of juniper oil is derived only from the berries, as this produces a more potent and pure oil.

Juniper oil in aromatherapy massage and aromatherapy products

While the juniper berry (and essential oil) has pleasurable aromatic qualities, juniper oil is commonly used for various health and well-being purposes in modern times.

In aromatherapy products, juniper oil is used to boost feelings of happiness and relaxation, as the aroma of juniper has uplifting qualities. The oil is often used in an aromatherapy blend for a massage designed to alleviate stress and promote cheerfulness.

Bath and shower aromatherapy products frequently contain juniper oil, sometimes blended with other oils.

Commonly used in aromatherapy with the use of a vaporizer, as an ingredient in beauty products, or even as an oil by itself, people use this oil to treat an array of physical and emotional symptoms.

Some users of the juniper berry and oil even report that juniper offers appetite suppressing effects, while others assert that juniper helps to lower blood pressure.

Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, growing in California. This image is in the public domain.
Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, growing in California. This image is in the public domain.

Therapeutic Benefits of Juniper Oil

Juniper oil can stimulate beneficial detoxification effects, and therefore many people use juniper oil to remove harmful toxins from the body.

Similarly, juniper essentially oil is also often used as a diuretic, which can help reduce the body's retention of water while simultaneously improving the body's circulation.

From its circulation benefits, juniper essential oil is also used to reduce aches and pains associated with muscles, joints, or rheumatic symptoms.

For additional physical benefits, juniper oil can help reduce indigestion, flatulence, and can even alleviate pains associated with menstrual cramps.

Juniper Essential Oil and Beauty

When used in its diluted form, juniper oil is often used to treat issues such as:

  • Improved appearance of greasy hair

  • Dandruff

  • Hair loss

  • Reduction of oils (for oily skin)

  • Acne

  • Eczema

  • Blackheads

  • Cellulite (as juniper oil helps dissolve fat and improve circulation)

Juniper seeds. This image is in the public domain.
Juniper seeds. This image is in the public domain.

How to Use Juniper Oil

Depending on its intended use, juniper oil can be beneficial through a variety of different application methods.

Commonly, juniper oil is added to a carrier oil, which helps to dilute the essential oil to provide benefits without irritation.

For example, when seeking to treat cellulite, an individual can mix 20 to 30 drops of juniper plant oil with 4 ounces of a carrier oil.

Carrier oils can be simple agents, such as olive oil, and the mixture can then be easily massaged into the skin where areas of cellulite are apparent.

When treating other skin-related issues, one can simply combine 10 juniper oil drops with 1 ounce of jojoba essential oil. This can be applied to the face and then removed with a facial cleanser and water.

To gain emotional benefits, juniper oil is commonly used with a vaporizer or a clay pot and candle (for aromatic effects). Juniper incense sticks are a great way of getting the benefits of this plant, as they are not expensive, and easy to use.

Additionally, you can simply add 10 to 20 drops of juniper essential oil to a warm bath to alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.

Potential Dangers of Juniper Essential Oil

While juniper oil offers an array of incredible benefits, consumers should carefully read the ingredients of a juniper product before utilizing the oil.

Some juniper oils contain harmful turpentine ingredients or other chemicals; these low quality juniper oil imitations can be harmful when applied to the skin.

The best quality of juniper should only contain oil derived from berries. Additionally, juniper essential oil should be avoided by individuals with kidney disease, as well as women who are pregnant.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I certainly learned more from that one and I voted up for sure.

    • StephenSMcmillan profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice hub. I am glad to see this one.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have a home spa unit at home. I spa everyday using essential oils such as juniper, lavender, cammomile, rosemary,eucalyptus and also special spa salts. Mixing 3 or 4 types in the bathtub each time, I really enjoy the good effects to my general health. Juniper really gives that special energetic feeling.

      Want to share my story? write me a line.

    • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

      Plants and Oils 

      12 years ago from England

      The scent is quite distinctive - woody, and fruity at the same time. Juniper is the main flavouring in gin, for example, and gives it a very recognisable taste and smell.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Another great hub! I would imagine it imparts an evergreen odor?


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